As you may know, Director Susan Anderson left the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in early October. Fortunately, she will continue to leverage her experience and expertise as a consultant on climate change, clean energy and urban development issues.
Susan's 25+ year career with the City of Portland has been truly outstanding! Susan has been a visionary director of three bureaus in her career, including the Portland Energy Office, Office of Sustainable Development, and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). She has built partnerships throughout Portland and literally around the world to creatively pursue policies and programs that have made Portland more prosperous, healthy, resilient and equitable.
Under her direction, Portland was the first city in the U.S. to create a local Climate Action Plan (1993). In 2000, Susan was chosen to lead the creation of the Office of Sustainable Development, an entrepreneurial office, which leveraged millions of dollars of private, foundation and federal government funds to pioneer new sustainability policies and programs that provided practical solutions for Portland residents and businesses.
In 2009, Susan was asked to lead the new Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Under her leadership, BPS created the blueprints for the next two decades of growth and development. In particular, her efforts focused on ways to advance equity within urban development and sustainability practices through the creation of the Portland Plan, 2015 Climate Action Plan, 2035 Comprehensive Plan, Central City 2035 and dozens of new programs and projects. Her work is captured well by the BPS tagline: Collaboration; Innovation; Practical Solutions.
Susan reflected on her strong belief in partnerships, “All the work I have done for almost three decades here at the City has been in partnership and collaboration with so many of you, along with talented coworkers and hundreds of people from other City bureaus, businesses, non-profits, universities, other cities, counties, regional and state governments, foundations, and environmental, business, health, equity and other organizations. I have learned that in all things, when we work together, we are much greater than the sum of our individual parts.” She has truly proven what is possible when we come together in pursuit of audacious goals. Thank you Susan!
The City’s Bureau of Human Resources has begun a rigorous executive recruitment process to find the next director for BPS. In the meantime, I have great confidence in Chief Planner Joe Zehnder, who I appointed as BPS Interim Director.
Many of you know Joe for his work here in Portland, where he has been the Chief Planner for almost ten years. Joe has 30+ years of experience working in large and small communities and in the public and private sectors. Prior to moving to Portland, Joe was a principal with an architecture and planning firm in Chicago and a senior policy director at the Urban Land Institute. He also served as a planner and Deputy Commissioner with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
Please join me in welcoming Joe Zehnder as interim BPS director, and in offering congratulations to Director Anderson on her City retirement, and as she continues her work as a consultant working on climate change, clean energy and urban development issues.
Mayor Ted Wheeler